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Brexit in the Falklands: The Argentinian Dream

The British exit campaign (Brexit) is considered to be a robust threat to the UK’s economic and national security. Despite such claims, six cabinet members stand for this plan. Throughout various ongoing disputes regarding a Brexit, a referendum concerning the matter has finally been called by Prime Minister, David Cameron. The exit campaign could have some serious implications for members of the international community – specifically, a decade old arch nemesis, Argentina.

The powerful implications of a campaign called ‘British exit’ invariably deviate from a British to an Argentinian standpoint. The UK’s departure from the E.U. would be viewed as an opportunity for Argentina to impose its own “British Exit” on the Falkland Islands. In such a scenario, the British may be in a tight spot since their South Atlantic treasure is no longer under the protection of the European Union’s umbrella. It is thus an opportune time for Argentinians to aggressively pursue the British-claimed Falkland Islands, as it should not be safeguarded by a union concerned with European matters. The issue of legitimate ownership over the Falkland Islands has been a cluttered debacle following a war waged by Argentina, whose government conveyed an innate territorial claim towards the highly prized archipelago. For many Argentinians, this belief continues to see the light of day.

Consider a question raised from an Argentinian perspective: Do the 17th century games of monopoly stand as a precedent for the UK’s claim of the Falkland Islands before international law? Such issues have consistently been haunting British government officials, especially when the Brexit campaign is considered by the Falkland Islands government as an invitation to Argentinian hostility towards the island. The Falkland Islands government representative in the UK has echoed sentiments of fear, as departure from the E.U. would set the tone for negative repercussions extending beyond the borders of the UK.

The focal repercussion of Brexit would leave British forces empty-handed in the Falkland Islands given an immediate economic turmoil that would stem from the withdrawal of imports and exports with the European Union. Have you ever heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? This saying can soon be a part of Argentina’s historical narrative following a Brexit due to the fact that occupation of the Falkland Islands could become useless to the British, but meaningful to Argentinians. Putting all predictions to the side, the UK’s current reality is one in which the entirety of the population will be making one of the biggest decisions by casting their ballots on the referendum of June 23rd. Each and every ballot will either contain British citizens’ approval or disapproval of UK’s membership with the E.U. David Cameron’s echoed his sentiments to the British people by asking:

The question is will we be safer, stronger and better off working together in a reformed Europe or out on our own.

The little that is left of the UK’s imperialist pride on the Falkland Islands is to be set aside when the primary concern is national security within a European territory. A Southern Atlantic Archipelago should have no room for conversation in the E.U. unless it is to make change and bring justice to heated Argentinians. It is more advantageous to leave such a contentious issue surrounding maritime territorial disputes in the hands of International Law as ownership of the Falkland Islands will be assessed legitimately. Additionally, the UK may be able to learn that exercising might over other nations no longer makes them righteous in the 21st century.

If, however, the UK clings to the E.U as much as it clings to its historical claim over the Falklands, the smiling sun will nevertheless shine and send a ray of hope on the face Argentina. This ray of hope stems from progressive efforts from the UN commission on the limits of the continental shelf, which has recently ruled that Argentina’s waters increased by 1.7 million kilometres squared. It follows that this ruling allows the Falkland Islands to fall within Argentinian soil. Regardless of what the outcome of Brexit is, it would be acrimonious for the British to remain settled in what would be recognized as Sovereign Argentinian territory before the eyes of the world.

Should Brexit not pass, there are countless remaining factors that would play a role in Argentina’s successful claim over the Falklands. For instance, the U.K’s rejection of Brexit could give rise to the implementation of potential E.U military projects, which would be incapable of defending or retaking a territory that stands outside of the respective European territory. Maybe there can be change of heart in British politics, but Argentinians must know that this “maybe” is as big as the upcoming Brexit referendum.

– Victor Percoco

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About Victor Percoco

Victor Percoco is a student at McGill University who is majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. His topics of interest are Latin American politics and International Law.

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